Monday, 8 November 2010

Remember, Remember

As I mentioned a couple of weeks or so back, we are now in holiday season and they are starting to come thick and fast. After Halloween at the end of October, we celebrated Bonfire Night aka Guy Fawkes Night on Friday. Although not strictly a holiday anymore, it is a day of celebration and one of the landmark days in the calendar.

The day commemorates the failed Gunpowder Plot of 1605 in which a group of men attempted to assassinate King James I by blowing up the House of Lords during the State Opening of Parliament on November 5th. The man tasked with setting the explosives was Guy Fawkes, and it was during the night before the State Opening that he was discovered in a cellar beneath the parliament building with over 30 barrels of gunpowder. He was arrested and later executed (in horrific fashion) along with the majority of his fellow conspirators.

Since that time, November 5th has been marked as a day of national celebration. At one time it was, apparently, a public holiday but that has long since been abandoned. Nowadays, it is marked by the lighting of bonfires on top of which are placed “Guys” (effigies) and by firework displays. As kids we were also all taught the following little rhyme...

Remember, remember the fifth of November
Gunpowder, treason and plot.
I see no reason why gunpowder, treason
Should ever be forgot

There were many firework displays around here over the weekend, both official and unofficial. Whilst they always used to take place on the day itself, most modern public displays tend to be held on the nearest weekend to November 5th. Dori and I were out visiting on Saturday night and saw and heard many fireworks as we travelled to and from our destination. It is one of those nights of the year that I very much look forward to.

Whilst talking of remembering, I would also like to mention that Norman Pritchard passed away recently. Whilst none of you are likely to have heard of him, and indeed few in his home town knew of him either, his legacy has garnered world-wide attention, for he was partially responsible for the design and implementation of Swindon’s notorious “Magic Roundabout”. This junction at the intersection of 5 roads was very revolutionary when first built and still strikes fear into the heart of many a driver today. It consists of a central roundabout with 5 mini-roundabouts around the outside. The beauty of it (if you are experienced at negotiating it) is that you may take several different routes through the road junction to reach your desired exit. Dori has previously posted a video over at her Yellow House blog to show what it is like, and here is another one to give you an idea of this wonderful creation!

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